Elizabeth Bear. The Deeps of the Sky. (Edge of Infinity)

Bear’s ‘Boojum’ and ‘Mongoose’, co-authored with Sarah Monette, were notably imaginative stories, but this one by Bear just fails to live up to the standard.

It’s set in the troposphere of a gas giant, and there’s a lot of use of the word troposphere and detail of atmospheric phenomena. The story details the nature of living in this world through a skiff-flyer, but simply explains rather than explores. There’s some risky mining to be done, and then the skiff-flyer has to make a decision about a strange visitor. The final few pages rehearse some discussions around the nature of the skiff-flyer and the humans who he has saved, but you could get much more out of this, and what we have is again a sketching out of issues.

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